This spring, I ended my stint at architecture schooling when I graduated from NJIT. I collected my stuff from studio and packed it into the car, leaving a five year chapter of my life behind. It didn’t feel real; I felt like next fall, I’d be right back in the same place. The sun was shining and the breeze was pulling at me through the window, but I still felt sort of separated from it all, empty. I looked at the slopes of I-78 and noticed all the loose stones. I knew what I needed to do to get my head straight. I pulled over right away, parked the car in the median, and climbed up the hill to do the one thing that makes my thoughts flow clear.
Looking down on the cars and trucks passing beneath me, I suddenly felt the attachments, worries, and manufactured importance of my schooling and all its trappings stripped from me. Man and all his works are momentary in the face of nature. This does not release us from our responsibility to work for the good, to strive to be constructive and restorative, but it does expose the asinine nature of human intrigue, with all its plotting calculations and needless possessiveness. I appreciate what I learned from school, the people I met there, and the changes I went through because of my immersion in it, but academia and urbanity’s wisdom will not be the ruling voice in my life, and their image of perfection will not be my final goal as I live and breath here on God’s green earth.
My little stack does little to affect the throbbing pulses of traffic through the New Jersey freeway, and was probably gone within a few days of me building it. I built two towers, the width separating them matching the width of my body, and the second one fell before I could photograph it. I didn’t care. I was content. My camera ran out of batteries after taking 4 photos. I didn’t care. I was content. My car almost got towed, and I incurred some large cuts running down the side of the hill to talk to the DOT worker. I didn’t care. I was content. Barefoot, burned by the sun, thirsty, and scratched up by briers, God had sent me peace for a day.